Every program that we provide at CFK is guided by a set of competencies we recognize as essential 21st Century Skills. Before the holidays we discussed the importance of creativity for long-term success and happiness, this week we’re turning our attention to the next item on the chalkboard: critical thinking.
Somewhere in the fourth grade at P.S. 243, the next Steve Jobs or Robert Johnston has just been voted class president, and at P.S. 73 a budding Maya Angelou is turning in her latest book report. In a Kindergarten class at P.S. 160, the next Sonia Sotomayor is putting together her favorite puzzle, and at P.S. 154 the next Tina Fey and Winton Marsalis are preparing for the spring talent show. At CFK we are committed to helping each of these future superstars develop the confidence to achieve their fullest potential.
Although it may not seem inherently obvious, Steve, Robert, Maya, Sonia, Tina, and Winton all share a very valuable skill… they are excellent critical thinkers. They are problem solvers and analysts. They are capable of making complex choices and decisions. They ask meaningful questions. And they understand how seemingly diverse ideas relate to one another and are interconnected. If our kids really are going to grow up to fulfill their destinies and influence the world, they too are going to need all of these skills.
Here’s how the national Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines it. Students who demonstrate high levels of critical thinking can….
- Exercise sound reasoning in understanding
- Make complex choices and decisions
- Understand the interconnections among systems
- Identify and ask significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions
- Frame, analyze and synthesize information in order to solve problems and answer questions
All of our programs at CFK help to develop our students’ critical thinking abilities in one way or another. Here are a few examples.
Arts – The visual art students describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the museum’s works of art as well as their own. When learning to read music our violinists and pianists are decoding complex systems of symbols and translating them into beautiful sounds.
Literacy – In order to write their articles, students in our newspaper club are learning to analyze and evaluate alternating points of view, and they are interpreting information and drawing conclusions based on the best analysis.
Healthy Living – During FAN4Kids, students are drawing inferences between eating healthier and living a longer happier life. And even at recess, when they are playing games to keep up their fitness levels, they are quickly solving problems and making decisions that affect their performance.
We believe in little Steve, Robert, Maya, Sonia, Tina, and Winton, and we are committed to providing them with every opportunity we can to help them reach their fullest potentials. Their futures are absolutely (prepare yourself, now) critical.